Categories: Family Fun

There are plenty of cool ways to fill your days in Northern Ireland. When the sun is shining you’ll be out and about in the wilds of the countryside, swinging through trees in play parks or mountain biking through forest. But you will need some down time too and there are lots of visitor attractions that all the family can enjoy with a healthy little dose of learning added for good measure.  

Make for the Ulster Museum, Belfast 

Start it off in Belfast and come face to face with the giants of pre-history - the dinosaurs -  at the Ulster Museum. You’ll get to meet an Egyptian mummy and Patrick the Irish Wolfhound. You can enjoy modern masterpieces of painting and sculpture and see the riches from ancient Celtic hoards. The museum is a treasure trove of the past and present is a world to captivate the curious. 

Visit the thrilling Titanic Belfast 

Not to be missed, the Titanic Experience takes visitors on a journey over nine interactive galleries. Drawing together special effects, dark rides, full-scale reconstructions and innovative interactive features, this visitor experience is one of the best in the world. Visit Victorian Belfast and meet the men who worked on Titanic. See what life on board was truly like from the joy of boarding to the devastation of saying goodbye to loved ones. You will visit the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, the final resting place, for what was in 1912, the largest moving object ever created by man. 

Why not extend your visit at the Titanic Quarter and continue your maritime tour with a trip to the Titanic’s little sister the SS Nomadic or the battleship, HMS Caroline. The Caroline is one of the world’s most historically significant ships and the only survivor from the Battle of Jutland.  

Enjoy a sugar rush at a candy factory 

After so much history and art, it’s probably time we took a look at the art of chocolate at Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory. Creating memories for the young and rekindling sweet memories for the not so young is what a visit to this place is all about. Gobstoppers, Yellow Man, raspberry ruffles, Belfast lollies and brandy drops are just some of the tempting treats on offer. Take a tour of the factory or get yourself into one of their famous chocolate workshops and see how traditional sweets are made. This is old time candy making at its best. 

Take a safari trip to Belfast Zoo 

Just be sure you don’t bring any of those tasty treats to Belfast Zoo, the monkeys in here will sniff them out. A visit to this old spot is a perfect family day out and still one of our best loved attractions. There’s the chance to find out all about the animals at the daily demonstrations, talks and feeds, and you can also go for special giraffe, penguin and lemur experiences, where you can meet the keeper and feed the animals. The zoo also offers picnic & play areas, gardens and a good value souvenir shop. 

Head for the heights at We Are Vertigo 

No doubt they’ll be inspired by all the leaping about so now might be a good time for them to do some leaping of their own. We Are Vertigo on the outskirts of Belfast city centre has trampolines, an alpine-themed adventure park, ski centre and a whole host of great activities for a fun-filled day with all the family.  

Wicked fun awaits at W5 

If you’d prefer to indulge their brains rather than their bodies, take yourself to the science and discovery centre at W5 Belfast. With daily interactive shows and an ever-changing programme of events and exhibitions, there is always something on here to keep your little Einsteins engaged.  

Discover the wide-open waters of Lough Neagh 

It might be only half an hour from Belfast but little nature lovers can explore a different world and a diverse range of habitats around the shores of nearby Lough Neagh. Stop off at the craft and gift shop at the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre and find out more about the Lough before tracking down the bird watching hides and enjoying the stunning views over the Lake. Keep an eye out for the play areas and paddling pool for the kids. 

Open a door into Seamus Heaney’s world 

Step out of the water and into the Seamus Heaney experience to explore his beloved HomePlace in Bellaghy. This very special exhibition allows both children and adults to put on their thinking caps to experiment with words, play with puzzles and put their own stamp on the ever-evolving word wall. 

Fish antics at the aquarium 

Watch fish swim about the tanks and learn all about local wildlife at the Riverwatch Aquarium in Derry-Londonderry. They have lobster, crabs, starfish, coalfish, salmon and lots of other unusual marine fish and crustaceans. Best of all it is completely free to visit. 

Step back in time in County Tyrone 

Immerse yourself in the world-famous story of Irish emigration at the museum that brings it to life. At the Ulster American Folk Park in County Tyrone, you can follow the emigrant trail as you journey from the thatched cottages of Ulster before boarding a full scale emigrant ship that will transport you back in time to the log cabins of the New World. You’ll meet an array of costumed characters on your way with traditional crafts to show, tales to tell and food to share. 

Conquer the castle in Enniskillen 

Northern Ireland has more castles than a collection of fairytales and if your little knights and princesses are into them, then you’ve come to the right place. In Fermanagh, you’ll find one of the best. Enniskillen Castle hosts history days throughout the year – perfect for any family day out. You can enjoy a walk around the castle along the shores of the Lough Erne before sitting down on the banks and taking out that picnic basket. 

Gaze in awe in Armagh 

Apart from the otherworldly beauty of its Georgian architecture, Armagh is home to the Armagh Planetarium. Aspiring astronauts can use interactive displays to learn about the cosmos and watch the latest space news in real time. Highlights include a full-colour 3D experience projected onto the dome of the planetarium while you can travel to the International Space Station before departing for Mars in our 3D stereo room. During your visit, you can even design, build and launch your own rocket. 

Explore the shallows and depths at Strangford Lough 

Maybe you can use it to land in Strangford Lough in County Down and take a diver’s view of marine life at the amazing Exploris Aquarium. From native fish to the colourful coral reefs of the tropical oceans and the dark depths of the Amazon Rainforest, there’s something for every little sea explorer at this dip into the deep.